Social media has evolved significantly from its roots in marketing and corporate communications to the point that it should no longer be viewed as merely a function or a discipline within a company.
In a business context, social media is no longer just a destination or a set of tools and features. It has evolved into a very powerful extension and dimension of work…a new way of thinking about how business is done.
Asking the question (today) 'who owns social media?' in business is like asking the question 'who owns email?'
Email has traditionally played an important role in how people communicate, collaborate and share information. In many ways, social media represents a massive evolution (or revolution) as to how we do the same – but in a different context and with greater benefit.
Everyone in a corporate environment needs to understand, appreciate and own how social media is used in the context of what they do.
Resistance is futile
A mistake that many companies make is to relegate social media to just marketing and/or corporate communications and associate it as only relevant to the youngest generations of people.
Adjusting to the use and rules of social media and social thinking is not easy for everyone.
For many people, the idea of something 'new' is not always welcome. After-all, many people have built great careers and resumes based on doing things a certain way and in an environment where they have influence and control. Anything new and as disruptive as social media is often adverse.
Success will come to those who embrace and understand how principles of social thinking can help them be more successful in what they do.
Politics and ownership
Another mistake that often stalls progress in big companies (related to social media) deals with the nasty issue of 'ownership.'
Ownership in business is one of those words that for something as ubiquitous as social media can only lead to frustration and political discourse. The moment someone claims ownership (usually associated with people and budget) a line is drawn...which creates a divide that fuels politics and bureaucracy...which slows everyone and everything down.